Today I made a difficult choice

Today I made a difficult choice, but one that I am ultimately happy with.

I’ve been struggling to enjoy my studies, it’s not the specific degree that I initially wanted as they didn’t offer it online, so I chose a similar one that was a Psych major, but social studies. I really enjoyed it in the beginning, but it’s been 4 years, I’ve only just passed half way, and I’m not enjoying the subjects lately. 

Last night I was looking at one of my assignments and had a mini anxiety attack. I couldn’t focus on what I had to read, everything was a blur, and I just felt sick and wanted to curl up in a ball. It’s week 3, and I was only on week 1 for one unit and hadn’t even had the time to look at my other unit. 

I decided that two subjects at once, plus a full time job, and wanting to maintain my health was just too much. But if I dropped back to one subject at a time, it would take me a further 4 years on top of the 4 that I’ve already studied, to complete a degree that would’ve taken me 3 years full time. I know I chose to do online part time study so I could work full time, but in reality I have no support from peers or tutors for my study, and I’ve lived in Melbourne for 4 years now and have very few friends because basically all I’ve done is work and study online. 

So with these thoughts running through my head, I got to the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to study still. I don’t feel like the degree I’m studying is going to prepare me well enough for the next part of the process to becoming a registered psychologist, and I don’t know where I’m going to end up in 4 years. And I don’t want to waste all my time and money and stop studying, but I also don’t want to finish the degree just for the sake of having a degree but not using it. I was at a loss.

I looked online, and found that they have the degree that I initially wanted in an online delivery mode now. Which is fantastic, but it also means that I can’t transfer degrees until November, and I will only do one unit at a time moving forward. I just have to come to terms with the fact that it’s better to take my time with it and take care of myself than rush things and be stressed 24/7. 

It’s time that I practiced what I preach, and make sure I take care of myself. 

Why you shouldn’t be afraid to remove negative people from your life

Society tells us that it is wrong to cut people from your life if they haven’t done anything that justifies it. But is it really wrong? Why should we feel pressured to keep people in our lives if they don’t make you happy?

I’m a big believer in quality over quantity, and I don’t feel I ask too much when looking for quality. In fact I think I ask for very little;

  • Contact me first once in a while. Ask me how I am and how I’ve been doing.
  • Take an interest in my interests, even if they aren’t your interests. And I’ll do the same for you.
  • Be honest. Don’t lie to me; if you don’t want to do something, then say that and I will understand. You don’t need a reason to not want to do something.
  • Mutual respect.

I have absolutely no room in my life for people who are two-faced, whose characteristics are not positive, or people who only want to bring down others so they don’t have to work on bettering themselves.

For far too long I have kept these kinds of people in my life, because I’ve felt pressured to not let go of friendships or acquaintances even though they’re no longer benefiting me. How sad is that? I’ve gone above and beyond for people who never even gave me a second thought. I put myself out time and time again, and every time I was left wondering why I wasn’t appreciated. I did it because I thought it would make them like me more, or want to be closer with me. I see now that I was over-exerting myself for the wrong people, and for the wrong reasons.

It has taken me a long time to get to a point where I can comfortably say to myself “this person does not have the qualities that I want to surround myself with.” And I don’t think that I should feel bad for thinking this. For moving people in my life from “friend” to “acquaintance” or from “acquaintance” to “someone I used to know.” I think we should be free to say “I’m sorry, but this friendship is no longer healthy. Let’s take a step back for a while and re-evaluate” without being called a terrible person. To me, this is a much better way of removing negative people from your life than ghosting them.

Which I have done in the past, and felt terrible about. I wish I had the courage to talk to that person, and tell them why I wanted to detach from the relationship. I wish I was honest instead of leaving that person wondering what they did to deserve it. The truth? Nothing. They did nothing except be themselves. I grew and changed and sought out what my values are and what makes me happy, and unfortunately that person was the opposite of everything I wanted around. The relationship was doing me more harm than it was doing them good, and I no longer wanted to be a part of it. So to anyone reading this, wondering what you did wrong; I’m sorry for not having the strength to be honest. Chances are it was nothing personal, just what I needed at the time.

Life is far too short, and too damn hard to waste it on people who are undeserving of your love. I will do anything for my friends without expecting anything in return, but I am no longer willing to do things for people who are unappreciative and only bring me down.

We all have the power to change the world, and we also have the power to change our own worlds. Stop letting negative people into your life, and you will quickly see how free life can be with no one to drag you down. Surround yourself with the right type of people, and watch the light shine.

– Eseljay xo

Mid year check in

I’m currently on a flight back to Australia after spending the last 3 weeks in Europe, and decided it was time for a mid year check in with myself. And when you have a day and half of travelling to do, there is literally no better time than the present. 

The last three weeks have been amazing. I’ve found so much more direction in my life and where I want to be, what my goals are, and how I want to achieve them. 

I want to seep happiness and kindness to the world. I want to surround myself with only the people who can impact me in a positive way. I want people in my life that I can vibe and connect with on a deeper level, whose goals and characteristics are in sync with my goals and characteristics. I want my life to be full of people who make me want to be better; people who push me to be the best me that I can be, and who continue to show me where I can make improvements. 

I don’t want to be poisoned anymore by negativity and hate; positivity and love are what I’m striving towards. 

I want to wake up every morning, motivated for the day and not waste a second of it. I want to go to sleep at night, knowing that I did everything I could in that day to move closer towards my goals. 

This means eating healthy, exercising my body and mind daily, and ensuring that I make at least one person a day smile or laugh. Spread the joy people, and the joy will resonate within. 

So this is my mid year check in. I’m definitely close to the path that I want to walk, and it is within sight. We are all capable of being the person that we want to be; you just need to figure out who that person is. It isn’t an easy or quick find, and certainly isn’t easy or quick to become that person. Enjoy the process of figuring out who you are and the person that you want to be, and don’t forget to check in with yourself regularly. 

Much love to all. 

The Darkest Hour

Today marks eleven months since the worst breakdown that I ever had. Eleven months since the night that I almost killed myself. 

I was in a terrible place mentally, and confided in someone I thought was a friend. I was wrong. 

We had our work break up lunch and drinks. Drinks turned into more drinks, which probably wasn’t a good idea. I was in the bathroom with this “friend” when she started asking questions and wouldn’t let me be. Apparently “I don’t want to talk about it” isn’t a good enough answer. And when I’m confronted like that and angry, mixed with alcohol, my words stop flowing as the tears start. Then came in another person, someone in a higher position of power.  

Instead of helping me and giving me the support that in the very least personal way was in their job description, I was literally backed into a corner and yelled at. Again, “I don’t want to talk about it” wasn’t a good enough answer. Word to the wise- if you’re ever in a position of power, and someone under your care needs your help, you damn well help them. You don’t tell them off for going to someone they apparently weren’t meant to, and you sure as hell give them the ability to stand up for themselves and show that they didn’t bring anything up, and the conversation was forced upon them with no way out. And you DEFINITELY do not suggest that they go back out to everyone and have more drinks and “forget about it” then get angry that that person doesn’t want to keep drinking and wants to leave.  

To those of you reading this who know what happened, and were possibly even involved- I’m sure you’ll disagree with my version of events. You’ll hate that you seem cruel and selfish; you’ll hate that the truth does not paint you in a good light. And if you are reading this, I hope you finally realise just how close to the edge you pushed me. Know that I could have killed myself, and you would have had to live with the knowledge and guilt that you were to blame. I hope you do read this, and change the ways that you treat people. I hope you start spreading love in all aspects of your life, rather than spreading fear and resentment. Use your position of power to help people, not to tear them down.  

I’ve kept it as vague as I can without tip toeing around the issues. As much as the old Shan would love to name names and destroy reputations, the new Shan has moved on. Sure, how I was treated and misused and abused hurt deeply; it still does. But I no longer allow other people to determine my feelings. Only I am in charge, and I chose positivity and happiness, not hatred and regret.  

That night, eleven months ago, after I left the celebrations, I called my aunt bawling my eyes out telling her I was walking to where she was and needed a lift home. And then I called my mum.  

Some of you may wonder why I’m even writing this at all if I’ve moved on- it’s because I have to. This is the only way I know how to talk about mental health. If talking about my own personal struggles helps raise awareness, then I will tell my story wherever I can. If I can help even just one person, then I consider all this worthwhile. I don’t care anymore if people know how much I’ve struggled in the past- if they know how many times I’ve self harmed, how many times I’ve cried myself to sleep or wanted to die. I’m not embarrassed by it anymore, and I want to help tear down the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. 

To this day, I have no idea what I said on the phone that night. I don’t know how I got to where my aunt was. What I do remember is wandering the streets of Melbourne in hysterics, bawling my eyes out on the phone to mum, and wanting to end it all. I think I was screaming at some point; I honestly don’t remember. I do remember seriously considering walking out in front of cars. I remember thinking that no one would miss me if I was dead. I remember sobbing in hysterics, not even being able to string together a literate sentence. I can’t imagine what my mother thought. All I know is that these were the darkest hours of my life, and I felt empty and alone. I felt worthless.  

The next day, I booked an emergency session with a psychologist and I went to my GP and was prescribed anti depressants. When I got home from the psychologist, my mum was waiting for me. She drove three hours to be with me. This wasn’t the first time she had done that for me, and it may not be the last time.  

Mental health is an ongoing struggle. There are days where I feel on top of the world, and there are days I cry for no reason. After more breakdowns thanks to the same people, I quit my job and I quit being unhappy at others’ hands. I’m now in a place where I am happy, within myself and with my work. And sure, there are days when I’m going to be down for no reason, but I’ve learnt to manage them, and to embrace them as a lesson. 

My past does not define me, but it sure as hell has made me stronger. And I am so thankful that I did not die that night. I’m so thankful that I didn’t die any night or any day in the past when I wanted to.  

Life IS worth living. The dark times pass and make way for light. Start making small changes, and the big changes will come in a domino effect.And remember- there is always someone out there to help you. Don’t give up on yourself- you deserve the world. 

Two months on

This is what it looks like to go from overly stressed and unhappy with life, to stress free and healthy. This is only two months difference. On the left I was working 12 hour days and was treated like shit (by others and as a result of that by myself) and then trying to study after long days. On the right I’ve cut out all the stress of my job and all the people who made me feel like shit, and I’m eating healthier, exercising more, and am happier in general.

How I did it? I decided that I wasn’t going to put up with any more bullshit that I didn’t have to take. I quit my job, made travel plans, and started to take care of myself from the inside out. And it has worked. After 10 months, I’m no longer on antidepressants. I’m no longer crying daily because I’m so unhappy. I’m no longer putting up with bullshit from people who don’t even deserve the pleasure of my company (which is bloody fantastic coz I’m a hoot.)

We shouldn’t have to put up with shit just because it comes from someone higher up than you. I believe everyone deserves to be treated the same way, with respect and love. And I whole heartedly believe that if someone is treating you poorly, then you should walk away as soon as it happen. Don’t put up with it for two years like I did- you’ll end up as miserable as I was.

I don’t want to go back to being the girl on the left. I refuse to put anyone but myself first now. I am proud of the actions I took to put myself back on the right path. I am happy and healthy, and to me that’s the most important thing

Health and Happiness

There are many fads that are thrown around within the health and fitness industry. Low carb diets, intermittent fasting, carb loading, low salt, the list goes on. It’s hard to know what is true nutrition and what is the latest phase.

My advice to anyone who is looking to get into fitness and health, is to first think about what your goals are. Do you want to lose weight, gain muscle, tone up? You need to have your goals figured out first. It’s 100% okay to change your goals throughout your journey, but you must have a goal to begin with. If you have no goal, nothing that is motivating you to get up out of bed and go workout, then you will quickly find yourself back on the couch in front of the TV with a block of chocolate beside you.

You then to re-evaluate your dietary choices. I suggest documenting everything that you eat for one week- you don’t even need to count your macros, just list the things that you eat. If you want to go one step further, put them in columns- “healthy” and “junk” or something that suits you better, like “need”and “want” or “fresh” and “processed.” Whichever way you want to make the distinction you can, but it’s important that you do have a distinction.

If you want to try to reduce your carb intake, go for it. If you want something that doesn’t involve counting carbs and trying to get your daily food to hit your macros, then try cutting down/out the foods in the “junk,” “want”, “processed” columns. You’ll be surprised at what a change it makes. Start with a goal of doing this for one week; I personally tried this first for 1 month cold turkey, and failed miserably in the second week. Short term goals are more realistic, especially in the beginning. You can lengthen your goals as you wish.

The next step is to listen to your body, and figure out what exercise is best for you. If you have bad knees, you don’t want to be doing a lot of jumping and running. Just like if you have bad shoulders, you don’t want to be lifting heavy weights as you will do further damage to your body. You need to exercise within the physical limitations of your body, not the mental limitations of your mind. I also suggest a 30 minute walk each day; not only is it good exercise, but it is fantastic for the mind.

Please note that I am not a PT or nutritionist; I am simply a fitness fan whose journey over the last 2 years have taken her on many paths, all of which lost motivation. These are my tips for how I keep motivated. I am very process driven, and like to have things written down and clear steps to take.

If you have any questions or submissions you would like my take on, please do not hesitate to get in contact!

And remember- you are beautiful.

True Friends

It’s natural to think the people around you are your friends, and that you can count on them to always be there. But the reality is often quite different. 

If you want to know who your true friends are, stop always being the one to make contact first. Stop trying to arrange catch ups with people who never want to arrange them with you. Stop sending “hey how’s it going” to people that you haven’t spoken to in a while.

If someone wants you in their life, they will get in touch with you. And soon time will go by quickly, and before you realise it it’s been months since you’ve spoken or even thought of someone that you used to consider a good friend. 

You shouldn’t always have to be the one going out of your way to make plans and constantly put yourself out to maintain “friendships.” If you want to, that’s fine, but I can promise you your life will be a whole lot happier and simpler if you stop chasing people and let them come to you. 

Quality over quantity is how you should be thinking. Don’t waste time worrying about others when you could be spending time working on your own goals. 

Because at the end of the day, you are who matters most, and any time wasted on people who aren’t putting in effort is time that you could’ve spent to work on yourself. 

You are number one, never forget it.